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Greg Sargent notes a memo summarizing a new poll on energy reform conducted by Obama pollster Joel Benenson for Clean Energy Works, a coalition of clean energy advocates. The poll finds that in the wake of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico public demand to break our addiction to oil remains strong.

Even when given the argument against moving forward with energy reform, 59% said they wanted to move forward with energy reform immediately as opposed to 31% who preferred to wait.

59% agreed with this statement for reform: “Now is the time for Senators to take action. Oil companies and lobbyists have fought energy reform for decades to protect their profits. Our dependence on oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and puts our security at risk. It’s time to put America back in control – with clean energy that’s made in America and works for America.”

31% agreed with this statement against reform: “Senators would be wrong to try to use this tragedy to pass a huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax. Their plan will raise the price of gas right at the pump, hurt middle class families and stop oil drilling in America, which is a big part of the long-term solution to making us less dependent on foreign oil.”

As you can see, it's not even close. In the polling memo, Benenson writes:

Overall, 61% of 2010 voters support and just 31% oppose a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”

A majority of poll respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a Senator who supported the legislation and less likely to support one who didn't.

These kind of numbers support the notion that the best way to fight offshore drilling is to fight our addiction to oil. Everything else being equal, people would prefer not to drill offshore, but as long as we're hooked on oil, battling it will be a constant uphill struggle. If we can break that addiction through more intelligent and efficient energy usage as well as by developing alternative sources of energy, then support for offshore drilling will collapse, because Americans won't see the need for it.

Moreover, these numbers suggest that swiftly passing a good energy reform bill would be a political win for Democrats as we head into November elections. Given the oil industry's political clout, getting something passed won't be an easy task, but the public is hungry for action. Democrats would be smart to take notice.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:16 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As I have mentioned before: Carter and NIXON-- (11+ / 0-)

    yes, President Richard M. Nixon, way back in 19-freaking-70 or thereabouts--both said that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  And oil in general, as well.

    Carter put solar panels on the White House.  What if we had done what Carter (and NIXON!) had said, and gotten serious about alternative energy sources in the 1970s?  DECADES wasted!

    Makes me want to scream!

    To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:19:06 PM PDT

    •  Nuke has a great carbon FOOTPRINT! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  About 30 years ago (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN, 420 forever

      something happened: The Reagan Revolution, which eventually came to a head (so we hoped) in two Bushco terms.

      The ruling consensus has deteriorated in the interim, to where, for all practical purposes, we all dumbasses now.

      Obama (like any of today's corporate Big-Boy Pants(tm) professional politicking chump loser Dems) couldn't carry Richard Nixon's jock strap . . er, luggage on environmental issues, among others.

      This is how supine and pathetic we've become in 30 short years.  

      Ipods, smart phones, nifty politicking blogs and reality TV aside, we were simply more principled, more sophisticated, more thoughtful, smarter, and more moral as a nation in the 1970's than we are today**.

      **Including Watergate, where at least Dems gave a fuck enough about what the fascists were up to impeach instead shouting "me too!".

      Then we call it politics.

      PLease don't feed the security state.

    •  NPR has something BIG (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on yet another reason to give BP the boot--

      They kept survivors of the blow-out isolated for 24 hours and made them sign waivers !

      I must be dreaming...

      by murphy on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:42:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Define serious... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think we need to beat ourselves up too badly over this issue. One way or another, we will transition from hydrocarbons.

      •  Defining serious: (0+ / 0-)
        1.  Funding alternative energy research lavishly for the past 40 freakin' years.
        1.  Public transportation funding.
        1.  Safer walking and cycling routes.

        To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

        by Dar Nirron on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:35:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what're we talking about budget wise? (0+ / 0-)

          A billion a year? $10 billion? A trillion? Could we have spent a flat rate per annum, were most of the costs upfront, or do they emerge at the tail end?  What about forced relocation to urban areas? If that was idea worth considering, how do we do that without repeating the Great Leap Forward?

          Here's the deal, I hear a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda when it comes to this issue.  What I've never seen is an actual counterfactuals even skeletally fleshed out (i.e., something like what the Commonwealth Fund attemped with healthcare.  Understandably this is a far more difficult thing to do, since while healthcare can be treated as a sector--albeit a large one--of an American economy, hydrocarbons and their alternatives fit into a large, global matrix with incomparable inputs,  outputs and models to link'em.  A compelling macro argument doesn't fall easily out of that sort of mess.

  •  That's a great poll result. (5+ / 0-)

    If any sort of meaningful energy reform bill was passed it'll go a long way with our chances in November.  This is a chance for the Democratic Party to go all out and do something big.  Will anyone in DC be courageous enough to do it?

    "Grow up Democrats. Face the music. Do it alone. You're the majority." -- Rachel Maddow

    by cybrestrike on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:20:12 PM PDT

  •  So the kook fringe right (0+ / 0-)

    has swelled from 23% to 31%.

    7% Teabaggier.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:20:38 PM PDT

  •  As with health care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    420 forever

    Senators will only care what their constituents if it doesn't interfere with their income from lobbyists too much. Even if it means they don't get re-elected (because if they don't, they have a sweet lobbyist gig waiting for them)

  •  Yeah, yeah (7+ / 0-)

    American:  "I'm all for reducing oil use.  But I get to keep my car and my boat and every light on in my house, right?  I have to sacrifice a little?  Oh well, nevermind."

    •  We have to find ways to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not drastically change people's lifestyles and monthly utility bills.  Lots of people will not voluntarily sacrifice.

      And those elected officials who try to make them?  

      Ex-office holders....

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:04:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What sacrifices are they willing to make... (7+ / 0-)

    America uses way too much oil - start making sacrifices at home.  It can't simply be "More wind turbines and solar panels".  How about addressing the demand rather than the supply.  

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:21:27 PM PDT

    •  Energy demands (4+ / 0-)

      One thing to keep in mind is that if every single citizen in the United States used less energy and did every single "green" thing you can think of, it'd only be a dent in the overall picture.  Industry uses a very sizable portion of the pie and reform must be directed at them.  

      And of course, then immediately republicans start whining about government interference in the free market, at which point I send out polar bears to eat them.

      •  Energy use by industry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I am all for a greener America, but manufacturing, the source of good paying middle class jobs we want to keep, is energy intensive and runs on natural gas. Natural gas in some other parts of the world costs half of the cost in the US. So in addition to having high labor costs, we have high energy costs here. When reviewing our energy policies we need to keep in mind the kind of jobs we would like to keep in the US.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:52:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Energy - who uses it... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssmt, DawnN

        Industrial 33%
        Residential 21%
        Transportation 28%
        Commercial 17%

        I'll bet you that industry, commercial, and transportation usages will drop faster than residential because those sectors understand the bottom line.

        Businesses can do the math and calculate how long it takes to recover the cost of things like better insulation, more efficient equipment, and solar panels.  

        And they know if they don't work to decrease their expenses they will not be able to stay in the race with their competitors who do make changes.

        That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

        by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:12:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shared sacrifice might sell. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssmt, PsychoSavannah

      If you come at us saying, "Use less, and pay more because oil companies will want to maintain profits at current levels, then people will not buy in."

      Those of us who do sacrifice do it for the greater good. We are not the average voter though.

      "Without love in the dream it will never come true." R. Hunter

      by mungley on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:28:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Smart meters, they make rapid demand changes... (0+ / 0-)

      A smart grid pilot project in Fayetteville, N.C., has resulted in an initial 20 percent decline in average electricity consumption, according Consert, a Raleigh, N.C. technology company.

      Those numbers are based on the first month of the project, a joint effort between Consert and I.B.M. that installed energy management systems for 100 residential and business customers of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the local utility.

      Consert attached controllers on hot water heaters, air conditioners and pool pumps and then let customers go online and set targets for their monthly electricity bill. Smart meters and a wireless communications system provide real-time electricity consumption data to allow the utility to cycle appliances on and off to achieve the savings and help it manage peak demand.

      The customer sets up a profile detailing when they wake up in the morning, go to work, return home and what temperature they’d like in their home.


      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:07:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  indeed, that is the precise problem (0+ / 0-)

      There simply are not enough resources on the planet (not just energy, but ANY resources) for the whole world to live at the extravagent wasteful level that we Americans do.

      That means one of two things.  Either we reduce our consumption to a level that can provide a sustainable lifestyle for everyone, or we continue to use military power to force the rest of the world to go without so we can continue our wasteful lifestyle (and I doubt that the rest of the world is willing to voluntarily carry us on their backs for very much longer).

      Which do we prefer?

  •  So... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    travis bushman, 420 forever

    I guess its time to pre-compromise and give the GOP and their corporate owners more of what they want.

  •  First step (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, rainmanjr

    Try to cut your own personal driving habits by 1/3rd or more.  

    Don't wait till gas prices go up.  Figure out how to minimize your driving.  

    Then, sic the Polar Bears on Congress for reform.

  •  I wish I believed that were true. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, rainmanjr

    But in reality I think we'd rather keep whistling past the graveyard.  One great big collective ostrich with it's head in the sand.  After all, cars and houses doubled in size since the time Reagan ripped Carter's solar panels off the White House.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:24:05 PM PDT

    •  But they are getting smaller again. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssmt, lgmcp, rainmanjr

      We need to be vigilant this time.

      When Detroit starts selling Sport Vans or whatever comes next we will have to say, "That's BS."  We want fuel efficient vehicles that meet our needs, not useless hunks of metal that take up space and waste resources.

      "Without love in the dream it will never come true." R. Hunter

      by mungley on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:31:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did you hear about this guy named "Obama" ... (0+ / 0-)

      or something like that?

      I hear that he raised the fleet mileage requirements for autos sold in the US by 30%.

      And I hear that he's made a whole bucket of money available for upgrading the energy efficiency of houses....

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:15:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear he wanted . . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        420 forever

        to "drill baby drill".  Until that whole recent "spill baby spill"  unpleasantness made him backpeddle in a big hurry . . . .  

        •  You know what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't think Obama really wanted more offshore drilling.

          I think he saw opening the Confederate Coast as a way to damp down the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd.  And it was working.

          In the same way his administration has made more loan guarantees available for new nuclear.  And I'll bet they know that the finances won't support a bunch more reactors, but it shut up the glow-in-the-dark crowd.

          That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

          by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:26:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ah, the 20-dimensional chess thingie (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            420 forever

            Why doesn't Obama just adopt the entire Republican platform and shut them ALL up once and for all . . . . . ?

            That will demonstrate that Dems can fail with a Republican platform just as well as the Repugs can.

            THAT'll show 'em all, by golly.

            •  Why don't you review Obama's accomplishments... (0+ / 0-)

              and look to see where they fell in the Republican platform?

              What about George W. Bush did you not get?

              That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

              by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:44:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK, let's . . . . (0+ / 0-)

                Mandated private health insurance.  Check.

                Renewing the PATRIOT act.  Check.

                Refusing to investigate any of the Bush Administration's illegalities.  Check.

                Refusing to reinstate FISA.  Check.

                Refusing to end "extraordinary rendition".  Check.

                Refusing to end "don't ask don't tell".  Check.

                Ordering Justice Department lawyers to keep defending the "unitary executive" theory in Federal court cases.  Check.

                Keeping the people who caused the Wall Street mess in charge of "fixing" it.  Check.

                Continuing to hold people in Guantanamo indefinitely without charges or trial.  Check.

                Perhaps you could point out which of these we could not have passed under a McCain Administration.

      •  Obama's intentions are benign (0+ / 0-)

        but if he were to attempt anything like the necessary degree of change, voters would scream.  Our fellow citizens view the injunction to put on a sweater as far more offensive than death panels for grandma.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:41:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, ... (0+ / 0-)

          The way we get ourselves off of fossil fuels is by finding methods that reduce demand while not inconveniencing our fellow citizens.

          Some of us are living fairly close to the edge, or at least are experiencing declining standards of living.  Those people will not happily take on more burden.

          Some of us are greedy.  Those people will not sacrifice for the greater good of fellow citizens or generations to come.

          Some of us operate in brain-dead mode.  Those people won't quit texting/watching TV/whatever long enough to understand the need for change.

          And far too many of us are terminally cynical....

          That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

          by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:55:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "inconveniencing" . . . ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Perhaps more Americans should take a look at how most of the world lives.

            Then let's see if they still have the balls to weep and whine about being "inconvenienced" . . . .

            How long do you think the rest of the world will be willing to voluntarily go without in order to subsidize our fat lazy lifestyles and allows our minority of the world's population to continue to use most of the world's resources?

            •  Get out and see the world... (0+ / 0-)

              Standards of living are increasing quite rapidly in many parts.

              All the more reason for us to lower our usage of fossil fuels and set a good example.  And create alternatives.

              That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

              by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:05:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have (0+ / 0-)

                And not just the tourist spots where the wealthy Europeans hang out.

                You should try that too.

                You won't like what you see.

                •  Well, I recently came back from two months... (0+ / 0-)

                  In India and Thailand.

                  The year before I spent three months in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

                  The year before that I spent three months in Thailand and Nepal.

                  The year before that I spent three months in Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Laos.

                  I've been spending part of most years in Asia and Mexico/Central America since 1981.  I think I've missed only one year.

                  I've seen what I've seen.  I see the standard of living rapidly increasing in most of those places.  Nepal and Bangladesh seem to be moving the slowest.  Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India - things are changing fast....

                  That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                  by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:14:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh, yeah... (0+ / 0-)

                    I visited France for a week back in the mid-70s.  Nine days, actually.

                    And spent a week in England four years ago, stopped three nights in Iceland on the way back.

                    That's the extent of my 'wealthy European' experience....

                    That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                    by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:16:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  yeah, you're right (0+ / 0-)

                    By golly, the only people who are poor in the world are those who WANT to be.

                    They have NOTHING to complain about.


                    Have a gander at the global distribution of wealth figures.  Let me know what you find.

                    •  How the hell did you manage... (0+ / 0-)

                      to pull that out of your ass?

                      It has nothing to do with what I was saying....

                      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:17:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  it has EVERYTHING to do with what you're saying (0+ / 0-)

                        The US lives well, because the rest of the world does not. We are a minority of the world's population, but we use the majority of its resources and possess the majority of its wealth--leaving less for everyone else.

                        That situation simply is not sustainable. Either the rest of the world will rightfully demand its fair share and do what it takes to get it (and it has already begun doing so), or we will continue to resort to political and military force to prevent the rest of the world from getting their fair share.

                        Which do you prefer.

                        •  I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree... (0+ / 0-)

                          There is no shortage of energy in the world.  We could do quite well off either sunshine or wind power alone.  It's just a matter of building the infrastructure.

                          There is no shortage of food in the world.  There's a distribution problem.  We need to improve the earning power of some parts of the world so that they can afford to purchase what they need.  

                          (And we need to plan ahead for the upcoming population swell.)

                          We will hit the wall in terms of some of our raw material inputs and will have to move to sustainable inputs.  But we've figured out how to do most of that job.

                          That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                          by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:46:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  who is "we"? (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you mean "the United States"?

                            What about people in, say, Somalia or Haiti or Bhutan.

                            Or should we just say "screw them" as long as we can continue our fat lazy lifestyle . . . .

                            As I asked before, how long do you think the rest of the world will voluntarily allow our minority of the population to live high on the hog on the majority of the world's resources, while the rest of the world lives on far far less than we do?

                            When the rest of the world demands its fair share of the world's resources too (as they already are beginning to do), do you propose we give it to them, or that we fight to keep more than our fair share. Which?

                            That choice is already upon us.  Witness all the fights over the global warming treaty.

                            And we have, of course, chosen to fight for more than our fair share.

                            It will lead to disaster for everyone.  Including us.

                          •  We, as in... (0+ / 0-)

                            We, the people living on planet Earth.

                            The standard of living in lots of the less developed world is improving.  Our standard of living is slowly dropping.

                            We will all meet somewhere in the middle.

                            It will only lead to disaster if we follow the lead of the defeatists....

                            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                            by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:02:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  but "we the people living on earth"don't have tha (0+ / 0-)
                          •  arrgghh (0+ / 0-)

                            "We the people living on earth" don't have that choice".

                            Because "we the people living in the industrialized world" monopolize the wealth and resources, and make all the decisions concerning how they get used.

                            And if you think that the rest of the world is living at a standard anywhere near ours, you are hopelessly deluded.

          •  "while not inconveniencing" (0+ / 0-)

            right away means "too little, too late".  Condemn me if it makes you feel better, but it won't change the truth of what I say.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:00:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You mean this? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              if he were to attempt anything like the necessary degree of change, voters would scream.  Our fellow citizens view the injunction to put on a sweater as far more offensive than death panels for grandma

              I'm not condemning you.  I'm agreeing with you.

              That's a reality with which we must deal.  We are very unlikely to get the majority to make serious sacrifice for those people yet to be born.

              As for "too little, too late", perhaps you aren't up to speed on what is happening in the energy world?  It might be too little, too late but it feels to me that it could as well be "just in time"....

              That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

              by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:10:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, I thought you were suggested (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BobTrips, DawnN

                that my pessimism about our unwillingless to make even minor sacrifices, was equally as problematic as the attitudes of folks who think we should consume like there's no tomorrow.  Alas, deferred gratification isn't a strong trait in human nature, nor is it likely to become so.

                Our technological ingenuity is breath-taking.  If renewable-energy research had been funded at the levels it deserved for the last forty years, we'd be in a lot better place on the curve.

                I used to be very moved by this Pete Seeger song, but I can't sing it anymore without feeling sad and fake:

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:17:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We're OK, technology wise... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  We've got the technology we need right now to replace fossil fuels and to do it at an attractive cost.

                  And as we roll out the best of our solutions we will be inventing even better ones.

                  For example, in the past year GE bought Scanwind, a company that has been installing wind turbines which do not use reduction gears.  That means a cheaper to manufacture and cheaper to maintain turbine.  

                  It makes it more cost effective to put turbines offshore where winds are stronger and more reliable.  Maintenance at sea is expensive.

                  And GE redesigned the blades to make the turbines about 25% more efficient for about the same cost.

                  Right there, the number of wind turbines we need to build and installed dropped significantly making the job of getting off of fossil fuels easier....

                  That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                  by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:24:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  true (0+ / 0-)

                    For a long time now, it has not been a question of technology.

                    And of course it would also be far easier for us to meet our energy needs if we did not continue to monopolize the lion's share of the world's resources to subsidize our fat lazy indolent wasteful lifestyle.

                    If we simply dropped our per capita energy usage to something like Germany or Japan's (neither of which appear to be poverty-stricken Third World nations), we could significantly reduce the need for fossil fuels, and also free up resources for the rest of the world (which struggles along at levels just a fraction of ours).

                    But we will never do so willingly.  We will use whatever methods are needed to maintain our fat lazy wasteful lifestyles, even if it means the rest of the world has to live like Somalia or Haiti.

                    We simply don't CARE how the rest of the world lives.  Like Rome, we simply assume that the rest of the world exists to provide for us. And we're happy to send in the Legions if they resist.

                    That situation simply cannot continue forever.

                    •  Our standard of living has been decreasing... (0+ / 0-)

                      Care to raise a family in a nice suburban house on a single blue collar salary?  Used to be one could.

                      Know what the average debt college students graduate with these days?  Back when I was getting my degrees essentially no one owed anything.  In fact, I lived quite well in graduate school and left debt free, as did everyone else whom I knew at the time....

                      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 04:41:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  not true (0+ / 0-)

                        The standard of living for working people has been decreasing. But the US as a whole has more wealth today than it ever has in history.  It's just monopolized by a handful of rich fucks at the top.

                        See, that's the problem with ALL "standard of living" and "per capita wealth" calculations -- they don't reflect the fact that wealth simply is not distributed evenly.  Most people have little or none.  A small number of people have most of it.

                        Oddly enough, that is true for every other nation, too. The distribution of wealth in the US is not very different from the distribution of wealth in Somalia or Bangladesh or Vietnam.

                        And indeed on the global scale, the distribution of wealth is not much different either.  A small handful of nations with a small minority of the world's population (such as, for example, us) monopolizes a vast majority of the world's wealth and resources, while the huge majority of nations and most of its population live on a tiny fraction of what we do.

                        I think, of course, there is a rather obvious solution to that problem . . . . .  .

                        •  Get out and see the world... (0+ / 0-)

                          I think I've said that before.

                          While there is a problem of unequal distribution of wealth (absolutely nothing new) there is also a very obvious increase in the standard of living for the non-wealthy.

                          That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                          by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:05:13 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  how many Toyotas are sold in Zambia -nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  You know I really don't know... (0+ / 0-)

                            Furthermore it has little to no bearing on what I've posted.

                            It's not hard to find places in Africa where life is getting much better.  The fact that not all places are moving up is something that I addressed quite a while ago.

                            Rising tides do not float all boats at once.

                            And some with really rotten hulls might not float at all....

                            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                            by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:38:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  BTW, you didn't answer my question . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            How long do you think the rest of the world will be willing to voluntarily live on a fraction of the world's wealth and allow our small minority of the population to live high on the hog by monopolizing the majority of the planet's wealth and resources?

                            When the rest of the world demands its fair share of the planet's wealth and resources, which do you think we should do---give it to them, or fight to keep our more-than-fair-share?

                          •  Here's my answer... (0+ / 0-)

                            Most likely long enough.

                            Get out and visit some places where life is improving.  It's very easy to find them.

                            People in those places are less concerned about how people in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, Singapore, etc. are living than they are interested in how they can get a share of the pie.

                            As their wealth increases, as it is, they will create competition for resources making the cost go up.  As costs go up we, in the developed world, will figure out how to cut back on our usage as much as possible while decreasing our standard of living as much as possible.

                            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                            by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:44:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  I guess this means the Senate leadership will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, thecoolmacdude

    start with a bill that is already watered down, and negotiate away meaningful reforms.

    Conversely, some indications of late suggest that Mr. Reid has gotten a bit stiffer in the back, what with the "making love" comment from last week.

    It's not a campaign anymore, Mr. Obama.

    by huntergeo on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:24:55 PM PDT

  •  Would be smart....... (0+ / 0-)

    We're talking about our party, right?

    Yes. Changing the debate from drilling here to drilling nowhere could help to sway voters.

    Why are we still exactly where we were 30 years ago?

    When did Bob Hope make the Shale commercial for Texaco?  1978?  We need to just get over oil and find something better.

    "Without love in the dream it will never come true." R. Hunter

    by mungley on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:26:28 PM PDT

  •  What in this picture doesn't belong? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This makes no sense:

    Everything else being equal, people would prefer not to drill offshore, but as long as we're hooked on oil, battling it will be a constant uphill struggle.

    How did that sentence / conclusion sneak in? Everything else says, Good News! A majority of people want to get off dirty energy and get on clean energy now. How do you get from there to the "constant uphill battle?" Doesn't it matter anymore the change majority demands? Love, perplexed ex-high school debater.

    Elizabeth Warren: My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.

    by mrobinson on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:28:48 PM PDT

    •  People tell pollsters all kinds of crazy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      And, while the idea of "getting off dirty energy" sounds really good, once the actual logistics are discussed, many people simply shrug and dismiss the whole thing.

      WHEN solar panels are less expensive, more people will use them....that is our only obstacle at this point.

      WHEN battery charging stations are available, some people might buy an electric car.

      It's a chicken and egg thing....infrastructure has to be convenient....we're spoiled rotten brats and if someone has to go out of their way to charge their car, they're not going to do it.  

  •  we'll break our oil addiction when we smash (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssmt, PsychoSavannah, annieli

    the DC politician's addiction to corporate bribes.

    •  We'll start breaking our oil addiction... (0+ / 0-)

      Most likely in the next 12 months as we get some hands-on experience with the Nissan Leaf (EV) and Chevy Volt (PHEV).

      When we learn that it's a lot cheaper to drive fueled by electricity than with oil we'll switch....

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:17:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of polls: PA-Sen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rasmussen goes all-in for Joe Sestak. Sestak down 40-42 to Toomey while Specter is down 38-50.

  •  Question for Jed or anyone knowledgeable (0+ / 0-)

    about polling: how do you reconcile this with the R2K/DK poll last Friday?  Some of us felt that the R2K poll question was a little muddled, which may have contributed to a "keep on drilling"-skewed result.  However, I'm no polling expert and would appreciate some words of wisdom from someone who knows the material.

    Charter member, Excluded & Conspicuously Overlooked Advocates; still twittering RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:32:33 PM PDT

  •  Beyond creating a carbon market... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd like to see an additional cost for the clearance of forests and woods.  Trees have an intrinsic value in the reduction of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and this value should be paid for whenever a developer chooses to squander the resource to lay asphalt and strip malls.

    Not sure what the price should be, I assume a scientist could estimate the amount of CO2 an average acre of trees absorbs per year, then a bean counter just needs to multiply by the cost per ton of CO2 and charge this loss for the next x number of years.

    Would help cut down on sprawl and incentivise business to build around and incorporate trees in their development plans.

    I never understand why house builders for example level 100 acres of 40 ft+ trees only to go back and plant several hundred 1 year old trees in their place.   Why ?  

    Government for the people, by the people

    by axel000 on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:33:33 PM PDT

    •  You can't pour a foundation over tree (0+ / 0-)

      roots or stumps.

      Clear cutting is much more "cost eficient" than working around the trees.  And, when the new houses are "insert Tab A into Slot B" glorified erector sets, low cost is the name of the game.

  •  I just don't understand teh "Oil First" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssmt, PsychoSavannah

    thinking that permeates the political class.

    How long does it take to pump the first barrel of oil from a well? YEARS.
    What are the risks of pumping oil? Disastrous ecological damage to water, soil, plants and animals in the vicinity - multiplied by millions when the well is offshore in the oceans.
    What are the risks of using oil? Too many to count - dirty air, oceans, smog, ozone depletion....

    Clean, renewable Wind and Solar energy production can cut the timeline from planning and design to production by YEARS.

    Risk from producing Solar or Wind power? Some insects and a few bird are possible victims (I've read that so far, zero birds have been killed by Solar or Wind farms in current production) of Wind energy production. Solar energy production usually occurs in desert or desert-like areas, and mostly produces ambient heat, which again, might be a risk for insects and some birds.

    Solar and Wind energy production could employ thousands: to design and build the machinery that is used to produce Solar and Wind energy; to tranport and install the machinery; to maintain and run the machinery.

    Why isn't Solar and Wind energy production the main choice of government at this point?

    •  There is the issue of scale (4+ / 0-)

      One thing about oil is that it has been exceptionally cheap and is a very efficient source of fuel.  The problem with all the other forms of energy production is that they don't really scale to the size of the United States' needs.  This is not to say I'm against them, but just that the reality is solar and wind won't power the United States, not even remotely.  Hydrogen is a bit of a pipe dream.  For instance, in Whistler BC, they have the largest fleet of hydrogen buses in Canada yet they have to bring in the hydrogren from Quebec...which eliminates any environmental gains.  

      The reality is that either between Peak Oil ending the era of cheap oil or public sentiment going against the obvious environmental costs of oil, there's going to be a significant change in just how much energy the country can use to power itself.  People are going to have to make sacrifices.  I suspect doing it willingly will be more satisfying than bad circumstances demanding it.

      •  there's more to it than that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State

        Things like wind power, solar and geothermal work well for LOCALIZED uses.  They work best when they are located right at the spot where the energy is to be consumed (such as the roof of the house that is to be powered).

        That, alas, is PRECISELY the model that energy companies don't like.  They very much prefer having a large centralized source  of energy production which they can control--and then transport the energy outwards from that central source to wherever it is needed (leading to significant losses during transport).

        In localized usage, things like wind and solar absolutely CAN power much of the US. In areas like Florida or Arizona, solar panels on the roof can easily provide all the energy needs for any building we care to put up.

        Can it provide ALL of the nation's total energy needs?  Nope--NO single method can.

        What we need is a mix of many different methods, each being emphasized in the area where they are most suited--and then decentralize energy production so it is made as close as possible to the point where it is used.

        Exactly what the energy companies do NOT want.

        We could start with a simple law mandating that every new building in Florida be provided with enough solar panel capacity to meet that building's internal energy needs.

        The added cost per building would be negligable (a few thousand on a typical $200,000 home).  But the collective impact on energy usage would be very very large.

  •  Well Americans Need to Move to the Right If They (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Mike Peterson

    expect government to take them seriously.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 10, 2010 at 02:37:35 PM PDT

  •  I'd love to break our oil addiction too... (0+ / 0-)

    Too bad there's no energy source that both provides enough energy, and is acceptable to greenies.


  •  I imagine the numbers for reform (0+ / 0-)

    ....were sky high right after 9/11.

    Too bad the bV$h WH was a subsidiary of the oil cartels

  •  0% will tolerate gasoline tax increase. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Everybody's for it until they have know...actually do something.

    Any politician advocating an oil or energy tax to cut consumption and build alternative technology would lose election.

    American's desire to cut oil/energy use is a fiction.

    Every politician rides the front end of "energy independence" and then bails out on the back end with "East coast drilling" and "no new taxes" and "no government subsidies".

    When you get poll results that 70% of Americans want an oil/gasoline to tax to save US from oil wars, oil terrorism, economic decline and ecological disaster, then you can say Americans are for it.

    Until then, spare us the hypocrisy and phony poll results.

    •  a tax on gas with a rebate from dividends (0+ / 0-)

      made from the auctioning of permits, may alleviate that concern.  Just food for thought.

      •  I'm waiting for politician to run on gas tax. (0+ / 0-)

        It will never happen and there will be no energy, oil or gas tax and US oil imports will continue to go up, US oil trade deficit will continue to go up, oil disasters will occur with regularity, oil wars to secure supplies will continue, oil financed terrorism will continue, air and water pollution will continue.

        The poll results are phony.

  •  Which means the chances are slim and none. (0+ / 0-)

    Moreover, these numbers suggest that swiftly passing a good energy reform bill would be a political win for Democrats as we head into November elections

    and slim is trying to clean up an oil spill in the gulf.

    "Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists" - President Obama, March 31

    by justmy2 on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:00:12 PM PDT

  •  Time to put a separate price on carbon, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    and NOW!
  •  talk is cheap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Americans may SAY they want to break the addiction to oil, but when push comes to shove, it's all just talk. If we REALLY wanted to break our addiction to oil, we'd all be driving less, in smaller cars--and we'd be walking and/or riding bikes more to exercise more (which, in addition to ending our oil dependency, has the added plus of helping us not drop dead anymore from being too fat and lazy).

    The sad reality. though, is that despite what we SAY,  Americans LIKE their fat lazy indolent wasteful lifestyle, and we won't change it, ever, until we are absolutely utterly forced to, by circumstances beyond our control.  

    And by then it will be too late.

    As typical Americans, we want all the benefits of life, but none of the inconveniences.

    And so as typical Americans, we will talk much, and do nothing.

    •  Proof: The Hummer was popular during what years? (0+ / 0-)

      We knew full well what was happening to our planet, and what our money was supporting, when the Hummer was at it's most popular.  If oil prices fell another $.75 then it would be popular again.  This demonstrated that Americans don't really give a shit.  That's also why the Teabagger belief that climate change is a myth is also quite popular.

      "There's really nothing I want out of the past except history." - Autoegocrat

      by rainmanjr on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Next up, a new poll: (0+ / 0-)

    Do you agree with proposition A?

    We should be nice to people's mothers, make work pleasant and well-paid, and let the Cubs wint he World Series,

    Do you agree with proposition B?

    Little children should be diced up and served in stew, all forests should be burned down so that we have enough parking spaces for the Range Rovers, and Ferraris, and Bentleys of Wall Street types who will control 99.999% of the money as everybody else works 80 hours a week trying to earn enough to buy 2 maggot-infesteed meals a day.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:09:17 PM PDT

  •  I'm tired of the term "addiction to oil". (0+ / 0-)

    It should have always been "reliance on oil".  An addiction happens when a choice is made to begin engaging in some behavior.  We have had no choice with our reliance on oil.  Oil has fueled our cars, heated our homes and produced a great many products (jobs).  Only recently has that begun to change and the infrastructure is still not geared for energy solutions, so Americans aren't buying into them yet.
    Even if "addicted" were the right word it doesn't keep Americans from engaging in a behavior.  Drinking, drugs and gambling (along with shopping, sex, food and other "addictions") are just as popular today as always.  Let's get away from the cliche that isn't accurate and means very little to anyone.  

    "There's really nothing I want out of the past except history." - Autoegocrat

    by rainmanjr on Mon May 10, 2010 at 03:29:13 PM PDT

  •  The public has always been in favor (0+ / 0-)

    of a more sane energy policy.  It is just that the political system is simply not responsive to the public on this issue.  It is responsive to oil industry money.  always has been and always will be.

    •  alas, this is a situation where the public (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      could simply adopt a sane policy itself, whether the government likes it or not--and won't. If the public really wanted better-mileage cars, more electric cars, solar panels on the roof, wind energy where it's feasible, etc etc etc, it would simply BUY THEM. If the public decides to change its lifestyle, no power on earth can prevent them from doing so, and no power on earth is needed to MAKE them do so if that's what they want to do.

      The sad reality is that the public has not changed its lifestyle simply because it doesn't really want to. No matter what it says in polls.

    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is that why the SUV/oversized pickup culture flourished so over the past 15 years?  And continues to do so to this day?  Why a Sammy Hagar song was able to drive the debate over speed limit policy?  Why jackrabbit starts and brake-slamming stops (the least energy efficient mode of driving) is virtually universal?

      I remember in 1979 it seemed like the message had finally sunk in...and then it sunk right back out.  I've spent waaaaaaaaay too much time and effort over the past 30 years as "the voice in the wilderness" on this to have any faith whatsoever in the American public's commitment to anything regarding energy besides self-indulgent conspicuous consumption.

      We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

      by ActivistGuy on Mon May 10, 2010 at 05:01:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  amen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We've been blabbering about this for forty years now.  If we REALLY wanted it, we would have had it forty years ago. Nothing prevents it -- nothing at all -- except ourselves.

        We simply don't want it.

        Hell, we don't even want to sign a treaty cutting our CO2 emissions--and prefer to blame it all on China instead.  Despite the fact that a typical American spews out FIVE TIMES AS MUCH as a typical Chinese.

        We are like Rome.  We want it all, and we won't voluntarily give up a shred of it.

        I think the world is doomed unless, like Rome, we fall. Soon.

  •  How about switching to WHALE oil? (0+ / 0-)

    BO would certainly be supportive of the idea

  •  start with "SLOW DOWN,YOU LEADFOOT IDIOTS" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, DawnN

    Loozerio is amazed as, while driving at 60 mph in a 65 mph zone, he is the slowest driver in the world, almost going back in time. Loozerio desribes this phenomenon as the BIG EFFING HURRY TO NOWHERE SYNDROME. If drivers reduced their average speed by 5 mph, billions of gallons of gasoline would be unused. Scientists and statisticians, HELP ME OUT. Not a cure-all, but a place to start. Enjoy the scenery.

    •  I can pedal at about 15 mph (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as I smile and wave at all the doofii in line at the gas station paying three bucks a gallon to go to the same place I am going.

      Know how much I spent on gasoline last year?  Zero.

      Know how much I've spent over the past FIVE years?  Zero.

      •  Lenny, you've got game. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If Loozerio had the stones required, he would ride his bicycle the 25 miles to and from work every day. I have shopped on the internet for stones but cannot seem to locate a supplier. Considering the way people drive, I would most surely become road kill, with crows arguing over which one gets to savor my eyeball jelly. A lame excuse, says Lenny. Loozerio concurs. In the meantime, Loozerio is increasing the frequency of riding his motorcycle, which gets 45 mpg. Maybe.....we could still be blog buddies?

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